The Ottawa treaty is part of the international response to the
humanitarian crisis caused by the global proliferation of anti-personnel mines.
Millions of these deadly weapons are already contaminating more than 70
countries, creating one of the most serious man-made problems of our time. Their
long-term impact upon individuals, communities, and entire societies is
startling. Recognizing the seriousness of the problem, countries from all
regions of the world voluntarily came together in 1997 and negotiated the Ottawa
treaty, an international agreement comprehensively banning the development,
production, stockpiling, transfer and use of antipersonnel mines, and requiring
their destruction. This treaty is an outstanding achievement because it marks
the first time that countries - through international humanitarian law - have
agreed to ban completely a weapon already in widespread use. In setting a clear
international standard against anti-personnel mines, the Ottawa treaty
represents a decisive first step in the long-term goal of addressing the scourge
of landmines and clearing the world of these horrific weapons.
This paper provides a brief overview of the landmine problem,
the Ottawa process and the content of the Ottawa treaty. It is not
intended to be a record of the negotiating history or a commentary on the legal
aspects or implications of the treaty. Rather, it presents and explains the
treatys major elements and accomplishments. It has been written with the
non-specialist in mind and is therefore not overly burdened with international
legal terminology. Where use of such terminology has been unavoidable, the
specific word or phrase is underlined and is explained in a glossary at the end.
A copy of the treaty is also attached for